Monday, December 14, 2009

Awkward Internship Rejection

So, I've been trying to get out there and send my resume out for job openings, internships for about two months now since being home from the road trip... Many e-mails never garner a response, which is very difficult not hearing anything back from anyone.

It's a very depressing and dejecting process. Despite the state of the economy, it's easier-said-than-done not to take it so hard when unable to get a job.

I finally got response back from an email I sent out after coming across of CraigsList posting for a Graphic Design Internship. After sending e-mails back and forth, about my abilities and experience with certain creative programs, and so forth. Answer one question about my understanding that I will not be compensated for travel or given a stipend of any kind, I happened to mention that I'm a train ride away from the city and that I understand that the expenses are entirely on me.

I then got a reply to my e-mail that said: "An hour commute too long... I'm sorry."

What?! Am I being rejected from this internship because I live too far away? That doesn't make any sense. Going in to New York City is what I figured I'd be doing for a while, what thousands of people do around here, they take the train in to the city to go to work. That's not a foreign idea.

So then I thought, Maybe he thought I mentioned it implying that it's a major imposition on myself to go out of my way to take the train in everyday. Okay, so I e-mailed the guy back basically saying: "Sorry if there was any miscommunication on my part, I didn't mean to imply anything about my ride in to the city. I am very much interested in this internship, and I look forward to continuing the process."

I just now got the final response: "I'm sorry but an hour commute IS too long."

That's it.

That's all it said.



Are you kidding me? You're telling me that taking the train in to the city is too bothersome an ordeal for YOU to handle? So many people take the train in to the city for work every day, people that live farther out East on the Island than I do. Why is this an issue?

As long as I get in on time, and get my work done, what should it matter to this guy how long it takes me to get in?

I'm just honestly blown away that I've been eliminated from contention for an internship because I don't live close enough to New York City. Are you FUCKING kidding me? One of the rare responses I've gotten to my 40, 50 something e-mail/resumes that I've sent out, and I'm out of the running, not because I'm inexperienced, not because I'm incapable, but because this guy feels that my commute in to the city is too long.

My mind is boggled.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's Been 9 Long Years.... WHAT?!

So, Last night I had the displeasure of watching the Yankees win the 2009 World Series. For the fifth time in my life, the baseball season ended with the Yankees on top, and I saw it live, on TV.

OK, I'll admit: in 1996, I was a fan. They were playing the braves, and in my young age, I was a bisexual baseball fan - the Yankees and the Mets. Plus, this was back when the Mets were unwatchable.

By 1998, my age had hit double digits - I was a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and the Mets were becoming legitimate, with the acquisition of Mike Piazza.
I was totally hoping the surprise underdogs, the Padres, would pull it off. Led by Tony Gwynn, the NL representative posted no threat, and got swept.

In 1999 the Yankees were again playing the Braves, so I was silently rooting for team NY.

Then, in 2000, the turn of the millennium, the amazing happened: the Mets were in the World Series! However, so were the Yankees.

That fall was an interesting time; everyone in the tri-state area seemed to be rooting for both New York teams. Everyone wanted to see the Subway World Series, the Mets VS the Yankees for the championship. Well, while the rest of the country was too busy trying not to barf, baseball's pockets were treated with an all-New York World Series.

I wanted so much for the Mets to win, for three umbrella reasons:

1 ~ They were my team, and I wanted to see them win.

2 ~ I hated the Yankees, and I wanted to see them lose.

3 ~ I wanted to shut up all of my Yankee friends and classmates.

Game One: Benitez blew the save in the bottom of the 9th, and the Mets bullpen lost it in extras.

Game Two: Clemens throws the broken bat piece at Mike Piazza (it still blows my mind how he was not thrown out of the game at that point - completely deliberate). The Mets posted 5 runs in the ninth, but came up one short and again lost by one run.

Game Three: The Series turning to Shea, the Mets get the win by breaking the tie-score in the
bottom of the 8th. They're back in this series! Right?!

Game Four: Mets lose a one-run game, to go down in the series 3-1.

Game Five: The Yankees scored two runs in the top of the ninth to break the tie-game, and won the World Series.

Although the 2000 World Series showed the Yankees winning 4 games, and the Mets only taking one - every game was extremely close. The Mets had a genuine chance to win each and every one of those games; and if it wasn't for Benitez and the rest of their bullpen blowing games late, they really could've won it.

It broke my thirteen-year-old heart. We'll just have to get 'em next year, right?

Yeah, sure.

In 2001, I was so strongly rooting for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Nevermind that I happened to somehow get Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling as my two top starting pitchers in Fantasy Baseball (yippee!) and had enjoyed watching them dominate all year (except for whent hey played the Mets, of course), I really wanted - no, I needed them to beat the Yankees.

Without getting in to description, we all now know how they came back and beat the Yankees in possibly one of the most exciting World Series finishes in a long while (1997, Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in an extra-innings walk-off game-7-winning hit, but - who was watching? Honestly?)

I remember watching the series on my couch with my family, painfully watching as the Yankees swept the middle three games in New York as B.H. Kim, who had a pretty impressive season as Arizona's closer after Matt Mantei was lost the rest of the season due to injury, blew it. My dad was rooting for Rivera and the Yankees to win game 7, I was praying it went the other way.

Luis Gonzalez gets the game-winning hit off Rivera, the expansion-team from Arizona wins the World Series, and most importantly, to me, the Yankees did not.

In 2003, I was happy to see the where-did-they-come-from Marlins, led by Josh Beckett, beat the Yankees in the World Series [this, of course, after the ALCS Game 7 debacle that saw the Red Sox losing a sure thing, which I really don't need to get in to]. I was happy to see all the snotty self-entitled Yankee fans that I called friends feel some semblance of heartbreak that I endured in 2000.

Over the next handful of years, whether it was the Angels or the Red Sox, I was happy to see that
the Yankees didn't reach the World Series. I will refrain from the 2006 NLCS as, well, it's still just too painful to re-live. And the Mets have never been the same since.

Plus that is not the point of what I would like to say here.

2009 - the Yankees VS the defending World Series Champion, and NL-East champs, Philadelphia Phillies. As the big debate arised of who would Mets fans be rooting for? - the Yankees or the Phillies, I chose the Phillies.

How could you root for the Phillies? The Mets' rival? It's New York VS Philly, baby! I would do a lot of things before I would EVER root for the Phillies. We, as Met fans, HATE them! It's New York baby!

I couldn't agree any less with the above sentiments. Until 2007, when did Mets fans hate the Phillies? Sure, they're division rivals, but as one of my friends pointed out to me, it never really mattered. Either the Mets were too awful to care about their rivals, or the Phillies were a complete non-factor. I grew up despising the Atlanta Braves, they were the absolute devil. The Phillies were like the Montreal Expos, a complete non-factor in the world of Mets' rivals.

The Mets sucking, or blowing it two years in a row - yeah, it was painful. EXTREMELY painful. Luckily for me in 2007, I was in London for the fall... as the Mets lost game after game, it wasn't hard to ignore the reality of their downfall, being five time zones away from New York.

It wasn't so much the Phillies defeating the Mets, it was the Mets defeating the Mets. 2008 was more of the same. And yay, this year, everyone and their mother in a Mets jersey decided to get injured, as the Mets had a positively atrocious 162-game season.

It had nothing to do with the Phillies beating the Mets. Sure, I don't like them. I'd rather see the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies hold the record for worst single-record in baseball history than the 1962 inaugural New York Mets holding that distinction with 120 losses, to 42 wins.

But I have no hatred for the city of Philadelphia, or their fans. I never look at baseball as the CITY OF NEW YORK versus THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA.

There is, however, one team in baseball that I do despise, and that feeling will never change or leave me: the New York Yankees.

Despite my father's plea that It's New York! How could you root for Philadelphia against New York? You're a New Yorker.

First of all, in my life-time, where is the significant New York - Philadelphia rivalry? The only Philly team that I really ever hated was the Eagles, as a Giants fan. Before the Phillies won the World
Series, no Philadelphia sports team had won a championship since the 76ers won the NBA Finals in '83, four years before I was born.

If being a New Yorker means rooting for the Yankees because they're in the World Series and the Mets are not, then I suppose I'm not a New Yorker.

New York City, baby!, right? Wrong. Even though one team plays in the Bronx, and the other plays in Queens, people talk about these teams representing "the greatest city in the world" - New York City. I always thought that was a joke - with a hockey team out in Uniondale, Long Island... two football teams in East Rutherford, NJ - and the Bronx and Queens baseball teams, I always assumed the "New York" to mean New York state, not New York City.

I'm from Seaford, Long Island, a 55 minute train ride from Penn Station. I am NOT from New York City, nor have I ever claimed to be. Especially after a recent road trip, where I saw cities all over the country, the small chance that I was going to stay in New York, or at least the NorthEast, is all but kaput!

Aside from my sport team allegiances, I have no attachment to New York. If I had it my way, I'd be on the other edge of the country by next week, and I wouldn't care about leaving Good Ol' New York behind.

Yes, I am from the state of New York; but I don't live in Manhattan, therefore, I suppose I'm not a New Yorker. What the hell does it matter? I don't care.

Okay, I'm sure by now you get the point: I see no reason to root for the Yankees based on the New York VS Philadelphia argument.

I refuse to every root for the Yankees because I hate everything they stand for, and mostly, I hate their fans. Their sense of self-entitlement is what drives me crazy.

I once had a conversation with a Yankees fan, where they said the following line to me: The Yankees are bigger than baseball.

I thought my head was about to explode. I couldn't believe what I heard. When I told that little story to another person, their response was: Well, it's true. The Yankees are bigger than the game of baseball.

That was it for me. I could not believe what I had just heard.

The "typical Yankee fan," not that I need to get in to a long description, permeates a large
percentage of the Yankee fans that I know, see, and come across.

For nine years, when I wore Mets jerseys, I heard some jerk-off yell "26, baby!" at me from across the street. Congratulations Tony, or Johnny, or Junior, whoever you are. How many did you win? And why do I care about how many titles your team won in the 20s and 50s? Whoop-dee-freakin-doo.

The Mets became a team in 1962, and won the World Series just seven years later in '69. In 1986 the Mets pulled off a classic win against the Red Sox and, nine months later, I was born [Yes, I've come to the realization that I was a Mets celebration baby = I owe my very existance to the Mets, and their World Series victory in late October 1986].

Though I found it hilarious, it was no big surprise to me last night to see once the Yankees World Series Championship was complete, how many facebook status updates were IMMEDIATELY posted, and dedicated to the Yankees winning number 27.

I found it fairly rediculous that when the Yankees won the World Series, how many people made it their proiority to update their facebook status. Though, I suppose that reflects more on the state of technology, and my generation and where people place their priorities, rather than it reflects on Yankees fans.

But what some of those posts said just blew my mind. Aside from the massive amounts of references to 27, which just makes me nauseus, I saw a rediculous amount of this, which is what made me dumbfounded:

"it's been too long..."
"It's been way too long! Champs once again
"FINALLY! Champs again!"


Are you kidding me?

One of my friends said to me last night that if the Mets had won the World Series, I'd be doing the same thing, in regards to the facebook status updates. I was SO HAPPY she said this, because it allowed me the opportunity to unload on one of my Yankee-fan-friends with some fan reality. When she said that I'd be doing the same thing, my response was - "That is false, ______. If the Mets won the World Series, I would be no where near my computer, or my house... I would be out, with many many other people enjoying and celebrating."

I went on facebook to check the status updates that would surely innundate my newsfeed, because I was sure (again, like I said earlier - this doesn't say so much about Yankee fans as it does the state of my generation and the role that technology plays in today's society) people were sitting by their computers, with their line already typed out, wating for Teixera to make that catch at first base so they could click "Share" to share to the world, and to their fellow Yankee-fan-friends that they're Yankee fans, and that they're happy about the World Series win.
And as I said to my friend, I can assure you that if the Mets were in World Series and in a game-clinching situation, I would most certainly not be sitting at my computer, or with my cellphone clicked to facebook in my hand. Updating my "status" would be the farthest thing from my mind. I would not be home, or at my computer, I would not be alone, sitting on my couch - I would be OUT, with friends, with fellow fans, celebrating in a sure-to-be parade atmosphere. Buthey, maybe that's just me and my silly Met-affiliation mindset. I would thoroughly enjoy and treasure a Mets victory, because I understand, through 22 years of athletic infertility, how much a championship would mean.

Along with hearing the fan comments on news shows and reports last night, and this morning, you'd think it was the Cubs that just won the world series after a cuntury-long drought.
But no, it was the New York Yankees winning number 27.

The sense of self-entitlement is what gets me. They truly believe, far beyond that they have a great chance to win the World Series every year,a nd that they are favorites every year, because those are, unforunately, facts... but what gets me is they feel that they deserve it.

Back on the throne where we belong, the championship is back in its rightful city. Are you kidding me?

I actually watched some interviewee who was 125 pounds overweight (irrelevant? yes. funny? double yes) stuck in the driver-seat of his car, saying into the microphone that "this one was different, this one was for the fans. the fans who never gave up on the team, and who'se stuck with them all this time."

All this time? Nine LONG years?! Are you kidding me, people? Have some sense of reality, get down from your high horse, and feel free to celebrate all you want, as a fant hat's your right and privilege... but still remain a respectable member of society, please. Is that too much to ask? Hearing and reading too many people saying the most rediculous things. Think of all the cities who host long-tenured sports teams who haven't seen a championship since before World War II... people who can only say that their grandparents remember their team winning a championship.

In 2004 when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, it was after an 87 year drought. Their last title came in 1918. Being in New York, I heard one side of the argument on who has "worse" fans, New York or Boston? Try enduring decades upon decades of letdown, and having your team leave you short of the ultimate prize for your entire life. Young people whose parents, neigh their grandparents, couldn't say that they saw a Championship title in their lifetime.

The Cubs last won in 1908. Can a Yankee fan even fathom what that must be like? I suppose the better question is, would they even care? No, they wouldn't care.

Because they're Yankee fans, baby.

27, baby.

The greatest city(? what?) in the world, baby.

If I'm supposed to be happy, because I'm a New Yorker; then strip me of my New-Yorkership. I don't care about the stigma of being a New Yawkah. In fact, I'd rather not be a part of it. There's a reason why other people hate New Yorkers, and you know what? I agreee with it. I'm not especially proud to call myself a New Yorker, for the sake of being a New Yorker.

I'm not from NYC, I'm from Long Island.. and that's been enough to deal with without trying to find off being a New Yorker.

If being a New Yorker means a blind allegiance to the Yankees, then no, I'm not a New Yorker.

Nine long years? Finally? Really? Psh...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What The Fuck Is Happiness?

I believe Bob Marley put it best when he said, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." He sure knew what he was doing in that department. Although, he did die an unnecessary death because his Rastafarian beliefs kept him away from modern medicine until it was too late. But psh, what does that really matter, am I right?

What is the meaning of life? What's the point to it all? Why are we here? Fuck the real answer to these questions, because the bottom line is this: We are here, alive, on Earth, in control of our free-will (or so we think), so why not enjoy it?

I've been doing a lot of thinking recently, about graduating, and what I might possibly do in the fall to start my "career" and where I see myself in 10 years, 20, etc.

I seem to have fallen out of love with my major and soon-to-be degree. Awesome. I'm taking the summer off to do what I want, to be happy before I start my career.

But I keep thinking, what changes in the fall when it's time to get that first real job. People seem to rate others as a success or not by whether or not they went to college, and what kind of job they have and do they have enough money to support a family (or do they have a family?).

Why is there so much focus on the money and the career? And I get it; I really do. You NEED money in today's society to LIVE, quite literally and figuratively. The more money you have, the easier things CAN be. I'm not arguing that.

I'm surrounded by people, in my major or otherwise, obsessed with finding a job and starting as soon as possible. Believe me when I say that I do get it, I'm not an idiot. But I just think people are looking at things a little skewed. What the fuck is the rush to start something that I'm probably pretty soon going to be miserable while doing, and to be doing it for the next 40-45 years of my life?

Why would I look forward to sitting on a train for an hour going to work, and then another hour coming home from work; doing that five times a week, 50 weeks a year, for the next 4 decades of my life? What's the appeal in that? And what's the rush?

There are SO many people unhappy with their careers, jobs, etc. whatever you want to call it. It's only a very lucky few that truly love what they do. And good for them, as long as they're not lying to themselves about that.

In my Rap Music and Hip Hip Culture class (Yes, I've been blessed with the ability to take some AWESOME classes in college), an alternate option to the Final Paper and Presentation was proposed: a self-reflective examination answering questions along the lines of:
  • What do you want to be remembered for when you die?
  • What/who would you die for?
  • What are you miserable about in your life?
  • What isn't evident in your life now that you really, really, really want?
  • What in life gives you the greatest satisfaction?
  • What do you want to Be? Do? Have?
  • What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail? If money was no object? If you had no fears?
Self-knowledge... having an overstanding (which is, obviously enough, way more than understanding... get it?) of yourself as a person. Finding out who you are, what you value, what you want out of life. Many of the presentations today, much to my surprise, kind of focused on the career goal as the future. A couple of people went up there and talked about the intangible things, which I agreed with completely. It's not to say that some people kind of missed the boat on the assignment, it's just a matter of where they took it.

What do I want to be remembered for when I die? I had written down "living a happy life. Someone who makes those around them happier." etc. etc. etc.

We all get it.

But why don't more people follow through with it? What is it about people that changes once people enter this career realm? What the fuck does it really mean to be a contributing member to society, and who makes the decision on that? Someone who makes millions of dollars producing semi-illegal hardcore fetish-specific pornography, and uses that money to better the life of his family and those around him: what would he be considered? Yes, that's a very odd and awkwardly specific example, and no, there's no reason why that just popped into my head... but, really...

Why should I become a drone and join the "work force" for the next 4 decades of my life? Why should that excite me? Better yet, why does that excite other people my age?

I've been around for just two decades and, knock on wood, that should be a minuscule portion of my life as a whole, time-wise. Why would anyone the same age be super-fucking-excited about starting RIGHT AWAY this thing that is going to consume their lives for the next 4 decades, twice as long as they've lived so far? And then when you're done with Phase 2 that is the career years... we become old. Less desirable to society as a whole, for so many reasons, be they fair or unfair. Once you get out and retire, it's the rest of your life.

College is just about done. It is 17 days until my graduation. I have no idea where the time went and how I'm actually here now, about to graduate, but that's not the point. Every year up until now, the future has been planned. It was always certain what I was going to be doing next year: back to school.

Now there is no plan. And that scares me. And that excites me.

I'm surrounded by people, both young and old, who are miserable with what they do for a living. It's hard to break the cycle once you're already in the game, and you're older. But I'm not even out of school yet. It has not even begun for me yet. Why would I be excited about starting the rest of my life, when I see more examples of people who are not happy than people who genuinely are?

And I'm not talking about family, and friends, and the other joys in life. Just the work.

What is so wrong about taking a little time off to be happy? To do what you want to do, before you begin the 'rest of your life' that is this four decade-long monotonous going-through-the-motions sort of thing that has become such a major part of society?

I just want to be happy. Which, really, is all anyone WANTS out of life: whatever it is that truly makes them happy.

But what I really want is to continue on doing what makes me happy for the rest of my life. If I want to break away from the New York City scene, and move to Hawaii, open up a bar and start a family down there: as long as that makes me genuinely happy, why should anyone have a problem with that?

What is so wrong about not doing the "work thing" as other people seem to define it? And the answer to any question you propose to people along these lines is the same: get a job.

OK. I need money to live, to survive, to be able to do the things that people say make them happy. Again, I get it.

There are just so many people out there that have it easier. People who come up with these ideas that you would never think could make someone a millionaire... Who the fuck is the person that redesigned the Dunkin' Donuts coffee lids about a decade back? I'm not sure, but I'll bet he's not working anymore. And I wouldn't be too surprised if he was, someplace warm just enjoying life. At least, that's where I'd be. Because that's where I want to be.

People put too much stock in trying to play the financial game. The saddest part is, you really
do have to play the game. Especially once you're in it.

All I'm trying to say, and what I really should've just said in the title, and the opening paragraph is this:

What's the point of life if you're not happy... or working towards a situation that will bring happiness? Why waste years and years and years of your LIFE worrying, saving, doing something that just doesn't make you happy? In most cases, people just need to do it because they need the salary for their family, and no other questions or ideas will be listened to.

I'm pissed off because I am not wrapping this up the way I intended to, and I haven't even said what I initially intended to say...

I'm not working my ass off to start my career for right after graduation, because I'm taking the summer off. I'm going to Europe with a friend, and then working with a bunch of friends at the sleep-away camp that I grew up at.

I'm planning on beginning in the fall to look for my eventual career. Portfolio school in Fall 2010? Maybe. I don't know what I want to do with my life... but I do know some things that I DON'T want to do with my life. And it just absolutely puzzles me the amount of people that try to push you towards the things that you don't want to do.

You have one life to live. On average, people will have 75 years to do what they want, to do what they're able to. Why waste it? Why be unhappy? Unfortunately, you never know what tomorrow brings: for good or bad. I'm not getting into Carpe Diem sieze-the-day crap right now, but more along the lines of you never know when things are going to end, or change drastically... it sucks, it really, really sucks, but it happens.

Isn't pure happiness success? Why can't it be for me? I don't even know what I would do if I could do anything, I don't even know what would make me the happiest. But I have an idea of some things that I don't want to get in to, some things that will make me the complete opposite of happiness... and I just feel sorry for those that try to push people in that direction.

So people, put on some Bob Marley, go lie down on the beach with your girl, and smile.

Even if it means not being a 'contributing member' to society...

Do whatever makes you happy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Automatic Bathrooms: The Downfall of the Human Race

So, I came to a realization about an hour ago. However, allow me to backtrack just a tad. Upon, um, feeling the need to go to the bathroom, I realized something: I live in a frat house.

A very disgusting frat house.

The bathrooms are by far and away the worst component of my living quarters. Just, awful. Once pledging is over with, it's like a homeless shelter in there, I swear it.

TMI? Yeah, sorry bout that.

Anywho, I rolled out of bed and ran to the nearest school building to use their bathroom. Ran into one of the brothers, who was there for an academic and scholastic reason, as for me, I was there for scatological reasons (google it).

So I go to the bathroom. A pretty pleasant experience overall. Or so it seems on the surface. When I'm done and I walk away, automatic flusher. I make my way to the sink, automatic sink. I need soap: automatic soap dispenser. Paper towel? Oh yes, automatic.

Save for wiping, I was totally taken care of in this bathroom by other forces. Seems like a simple luxury. But i started to think as I walked out of the door and down the hallway... holy shit. Some other force, by way of "sensors" knew when i was done, knew when i wanted water, soap and paper towels and delivered them to me. And people just take it without asking questions? People just blindly accept that it's simple technology.

Ever wonder if there's something going on behind the scenes? Ever see the Terminator movies? Well, actually, heh, I've only sent he third one, which sucked, but that's neither here nor there. But Seriously people, machines are beginning to take over.

I think the automatic bathroom experience is the first force in what will eventually wipe out the entire Human Race. You think about it.

Sensors? or more?! When you pee in a urinal (for the guys out there, obviously) and the toilet flushes the second you're done, before you even zip up and walk away, and that robotic voice comes out and says "thank you for your deposit," does that not freak anyone out?

Okay, so I made up the speaking part, but can you imagine? That's probably the next step. If it is, remember where you heard it first: right hizzere, mofos.

All I'm saying is, maybe from a little too many movies, but it's possible people. Don't take things for face value.

Why would someone with technological knowledge spend so much time, money and resources into making an automatic toilet flusher? Is that interesting to anyone? Something else is going on. I'm really not gonna care to try to figure out what, all I'm saying is, you heard it here first. It's coming people, maybe it's already here. The end of the human race.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Syracuse's 6 OT Win over UConn

It was a quarterfinals match-up; the winner would face West Virginia the next night in the Semi-Finals of the 2009 Big East Championship tournament.

Not an extremely prestigious situation, when you take in to account that beyond this game, and beyond the Big East Championship title... only then does March Madness begin. The Big Dance.

#20 ranked Syracuse University versus #4 ranked University of Connecticut.

"Remember where you were when Syracuse and UConn played the longest game in Big East History?" - was just heard form my stereo, set on 1050 AM ESPN Radio.

The game was supposed to go to UConn, though it was supposed to be a good one. A 3 point game at half-time, it was a close score and going back-and-forth essentially from wire-to-wire. After being up 2 points in the last minute, Syracuse surrendered the tying bucket with less than 2 seconds left.

A Doug Flutie-esque Hail Mary pass found it's way into UConn hands, only to roll off right in front of Eric Devendorf. He tosses up a prayer just as time runs out... AND SINKS IT!!! I Don't believe it! Syracuse just won on a buzzer-beater three pointer , a shot that never should have even gotten off. But thank GOD it DID!

And of course, upon further review, the buzzer sounded just before the ball left Devendorf's fingertips. Basket no good. We go in to Overtime.

I'm not about to do a play-by-play of Overtimes 1-6 because, hell, that's what ESPN's for. I just needed tow rite down where I was as I watched this miraculous display of basketball unravel before my very eyes.

I was meeting up with a couple of friends at a bar, keeping my eye on the TV the whole game. The two girls I was with couldn't care less about the game. Two other friends who I hadn't seen since New Year's Eve came in during the second half. As the game was heading for OT, they left for home. I was gonna give 'em a call and meet up with them after the next 5 minutes of play was over.

Now, earlier in the day Villanova beat Marquette on a last-second all-alone under-the-basket lay-up to salvage a win they should have secured before blowing a 16-point lead. That had to have been the sickest ending of the day, right?

Not even close.

OVERTIME - Syracuse loses the tip-off, playing catch-up the whole damn extra session... Flynn feeds Jackson under the basket, he slams it down with 4.7 seconds left to tied it. And We're going to Overtime number 2.

OT 2 - Flynn with the sweet lay-up, and-one! would be the tying points. on to #3.

OT 3 - Down 4 points, Harris with the slam! Then down 3, Rautins NAILS THE THREE with 11 seconds left! UConn can't put it in, and we're on to the fouth Overtime.

OT 4 - tied at 104 with 16 seconds left, UConn loses possesion, Rautins driving the over way, dishes to Harris in the paint... and he misses the lay-up. GETS HIS OWN REBOUND! and misses the putback. On to the 5th.

OT 5 - Nope... not this time either

Oh, by the way... at this point, The Orange have been playing a significant amount of time without Kristoff Ongeneat, Arinze Onuaku, Rick Jackson and Eric Devendorf, as they all fouled out (in that order). Their tallest regular player - Paul Harris standing in at 6'4".

OT 6 - finally, SU wins the tip off. with Flynn, Harris, Rautins, Justin Thomas and Kris Joseph the 5 Orange[men] on the floor starting overtime numero seis. At this point, my other two friends with me at the bar left me alone. There were about 12 people in the bar cheering for Syracuse, none of them caring so much other than watching "some cool college basketball game." Man, how I wished everyone was at Syracuse for this game... or at least if I were with SOMEONE that gave half a rats ass about this. I was left alone with my thoughts, (prayers) and my cell phone, frantically texting 12 other people - trying to create some semblance of the feeling of watching this game with friends/people who actually gave a crap about Syracuse winning this one... Syracuse dominated Overtime 6 from the get-go and won pretty decidedly.

6 OTs - that's 1.75 games. 244 total points... 142 in regulation, 102 overtime points.

Johnny Flynn played 67 of the game's 70 total minutes. 16-16 from the Free Throw line --34 points.

Harris, 13-14 from the line, 29 PTS, 22 Rebounds (10 on the Offensive board).

Devendord threw in 22, and Rautins sunk 20.

They shot 78.4% (40/51) from the Free Throw line... this coming from a team whose season mark coming in to the game sat at 63.3%, 14/16 in the Big East.

127-121 after 70 minutes of play. The second-longest NCAA Division I game EVER...

...and it was at the Garden.

...and it was my school.

It was MY school. This wasn't just some cool college ball game between two good programs that I happened to be watching... this was my team, senior year, that i was rooting for.

Is it weird to me that I'm older than any of the Orange on the court as time FINALLY expired? Yeah, you betcha that's weird.

Over 4 hours long, and MY school won the game.

I was at the Garden the night before, to see Syracuse handedly defeat Seton Hall by 15 points. It was a good game, and a whole lot of fun. Before that game was even underway, talk of tomorrow's ticket being $70 the cheapest put an end to discussions of actually going to Thursday night's game... which would turn out to be simply epic.

Epic game, no doubt. This will surely run on ESPN Classic for decades to come. When people tal about greatest games, though it might not top te list, it'll definitely be in the discussion (I wonder how many sports sites and newspapers are setting up a poll for greatest college basketball game ever?).

Yet at the end of the day, this was a quarterfinals match-up. Syracuse will play West Virginia later in the same day that the game ended in, the winner of which will face the winner of the Louisville/Villanova matchup.

The winner of that will be crowned 2009 Big East Champs.

And then, the very next day - it won't mean shit. Sure, more wins would help a team's seeding in the big tournament, but in the end, Syracuse will be tied with 63 other teams with a 0-0 record, all with the same goal: To be NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Champions.

Personally, I think the aura surrounding the Madison Square Garden is a bit over-blown... but I just can't help but think this wouldn't have happened anywhere else. It couldn't have happened anywhere else. The World's Most Famous Arena in the World's Most Famous City, set the stage for a 6 overtime clash of college basketball juggernauts (you know the papers and columns love writing that sort of shit).

I'm not making any sense anymore. What I intended to write when I sat down at my laptop sometime after 2:30AM after the game was over, only a part of what I felt ended up actually translating to this post. I see my bed an arm's length away from me, and all I want to do is crawl in it and pass out immediately.

Funny though, as tired as I am - I'm nowhere near the combination of being both physically and mentally drained as Johnny Flynn must be feeling tonight.

I just keep thinking that I'm experiencing this in the present. I was watching the game, I was still a student at the University i was rooting for... it's not a memory, it's not a historic refernce (yet).

Congrats Boeheim. No, not on Juli (though DAMN man, how the hell did you pull that one off with that hair), but on being the winning coach in this game.

"I'm more proud of this team than any team I've ever coached," said Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. "I've never been more proud of a team."

Jimmy, I agreegree.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ye Olde Ode To Led Zeppelin

It is only in my college years that I can say I truly found Led Zeppelin.

If I were poetic in that forced/yuppie way, I'd probably write something like "or should i say, Led Zeppelin found me" but I'm not that guy, so I won't say it. Nope.

I recently finished reading Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself To Live (I highly recommend anything written by Chuck Klosterman. If you're entirely unfamiliar with his work, he's a music critic and pop culture commentator - very funny and entertaining writing style). Just last night I was reading his commentary on why Led Zeppelin is so good and, I realized as I was reading it, that he put it more perfectly than I thought imaginable. He managed to put into words exactly how I felt when I started listening to Led Zeppelin.

Although seemingly entirely unnecessary, I still feel the need to post said commentary because I could never write it so accurately myself. And I'm sure way before it's done, I will fully understand how completely unnecessary this all is.

For those of you that get Led Zeppelin, you're welcome.

For those of you that don't [yet], this is what you're missing out on.

Once again, for legal purposes, straight outta Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself To Live:
...I'm playing How The West Was Won by Led Zeppelin, a recently released collection of live Led Zep recordings from the year of my birth. I've been saving this CD for rural Montana, since Montana seems like the only state where a 23-minute version of "Whole Lotta Love" would feel completely necessary. Whenever I find myself in an argument about the greatest rock bands of all time, I always place Zeppelin third, behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. This sentiment is incredibly common; if we polled everyone in North America who likes rock music, those three bands would almost certainly be the consensus selection (and in that order). But Zeppelin is far and away the most popular rock band of all time, and they're popular in a way that the Beatles and Stones cannot possibly compete with; this is because every straight man born after the year 1958 has at least one transitory period in his life when he believes Led Zeppelin is the only good band that ever existed. And there is no other rock group that generates that experience.

A few years ago, I was an on-air guest for a morning radio show in Akron. I was on the air with the librarian from the Akron public library, and we were discussing either John Cheever or Guided by Voices, or possibly both. Talk radio in Akron is fucking crazy. While we were walking out of the studio, the librarian noticed the show's 19-year-old producer; the producer had a blond mullet, his blank eyes were beyond blood-shot, and he was wearing ripped jeans and a black Swan Song T-shirt with all the runes from the Zoso album. The librarian turned to me and said, "You know, I went to high school with that guy." This librarian was 42. But he was right. He did go to high school with that guy. Right now, there are boys in fourth grade who do not even realize that they will become "that guy" as soon as they finish reading The Hobbit in eighth grade. There are people having unprotected sex at this very moment, and the fetus spawned from that union will become "that guy" in two decades. Led Zeppelin is the most legitimately timeless musical entity of the past half century; they are the only group in the history of rock 'n' roll that every male rock fan seems to experience in exactly the same way.

You are probably wondering why that happens; I'm not sure, either. I've put a lot of thought into this subject (certainly more than any human should), but it never becomes totally clear; it only seems more and more true. For a time, I thought it was Robert Plant's overt misogyny fused with Jimmy Page's obsession with the occult, since that combination allows adolescent males to reconcile the alienation of unhinged teenage sexuality with their own inescapable geekiness. However, this theory strikes me as "probably stupid." It would be easy to argue that Zeppelin simply out-rocks all other bands, but that's not really true; AC/DC completely out-rocks Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC is mostly ridiculous. Whatever quality makes Led Zep so eternally archetypal must be "intangible," but even that argument seems weak; here in Big Sky Country, I'm listening to "Heartbreaker" at rib-crushing volume, and everything that's perfect about Led Zeppelin seems completely palpable. There is nothing intangible about the invisible nitroglycerin pouring out of the Tantaun's woofers. Everything is real. And what that everything is - maybe - is this: Led Zeppelin sounds like who they are, but they also sound like who they are not. They sound like an English blues band. They sound like a warm-blooded brachiosaur. They sound like Hannibal's assault across the Alps. They sound sexy and sexist and sexless. They sound dark but stoned; they sound smart but dumb; they seem older than you, but just barely. Led Zeppelin sounds like the way a cool guy acts. Or - more specifically - Led Zeppelin sounds like a certain kind of cool guy; they sound like the kind of cool guy every man vaguely thinks he has the potential to be, if just a few things about the world were somehow different. And the experience this creates is unique to Led Zeppelin because its manifestation is entirely sonic: There is a point in your life when you hear songs like "The Ocean" and "Out on the Tiles" and "Kashmir," and you suddenly find yourself feeling like these songs are actively making you into the person you want to be. It does not matter if you've heard those songs 100 times and felt nothing in the past, and it does not matter if you don't normally like rock 'n' roll and just happened to overhear it in somebody else's dorm room. We all still meet at the same vortex: For whatever the reason, there is a point in the male maturation process when the music of Led Zeppelin sounds like the perfect actualization of the perfectly cool you. You will hear the intro to "When the Levee Breaks," and it will feel like your brain is stuffed inside the kick drum. You will hear the opening howl of "Immigrant Song," and you will imagine standing on the bow of a Viking ship and screaming about Valhalla. But when these things happen, you don't think about Physical Graffiti or Houses of the Holy in those abstract, metaphysical terms; you simply think, "Wow. I just realized something: This shit is perfect. In fact, this record is vastly superior to all other forms of music on the entire planet, so this is all I will ever listen to, all the time." And you do this for six days or six weeks or six years. This is your Zeppelin Phase, and it has as much to do with your own personal psychology as it does with the way John Paul Jones played the organ on "Trampled Under Foot." It has to do with sociobiolgoy, and with Aleister Crowley, and possibly with mastadons. And you will grow out of it, probably. But this is why Led Zepplin is the most beloved rock band of all time, even though most people (including myself) think the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are better. Those two bands are appreciated in myriad ways and for myriad reasons, and the criteria for doing so changes with every generation. But Led Zeppelin is only loved one way, and that will never evolve. They are the one thing all young men share, and we shall share it forever. Led Zeppelin is unkillable, even if John Bonham was not.
I mean, this just so completely hits the nail on the head. There is that phase where you think "This is music perfection, and I'll never have to listen to anything else again." And it may have lasted only about 6 weeks (err, months) but at some point in your life, you felt this was as true as the sky is blue.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meet the Mets, Beat the Mets...

So, as of this morning - er, whenever anyone in America woke up, they will have heard - the Mets fired head coach Willie Randolph.

Personally, I didn't think it would happen that quickly. I thought it was yet another example of media fluff and those jerks whose livelihood relies on meeting deadlines taking a story and blowing it out of proportion. Obviously, I was wrong. After the Mets won a game against a very good Angels team (that's right, I said win - it's not a typo, yes, they actually managed to win a game! crazy, I know) GM Omar Minaya and the Wilpons sent Willie packing.

To be honest, I don't really have a problem with this move. I loved Willie when he first came here. It was painful in the beginning of 2005 when it took the team 6 games to get him his first win, and after getting hot and making covers of magazines and sports pages, they cooled down and missed the playoffs by a somewhat large margin. 2006 was, well it was 2006. It was the year they should have won. Untimely injuries, cold streaks, and Guillermo Mota were the reasons they lost to the Cards.
2007 saw the biggest collapse in baseball history (I still like the Yankees 2004 ALCS collapse personally). However, me being in Europe for the last month of the season made that a lot easier to deal with.

2008, they were sluggish right out of the gate and are performing at a level below mediocrity. The bottom line is that everyone is, overall, cold. Not one of their regulars is having a hot season, and except for David Wright's RBI total, none of their regular starters are even playing to their potential, their norm, their average season. Everyone in the lineup is, currently, under-performing. The pitching's been spotty, the bullpen's blown a lot of games. The bottom line is that they lost A LOT of extremely disheartening games. Their bullpen blew a lot of leads, Delgado grounded into too many
rally-killing double plays almost daily. These weren't just a lot of games surmounting in the Loss column. They've been losing a lot of extremely painful games. Three 2-1 losses to San Diego (one of which saw Scott Schoenweis walk the bases loaded and hit the batter to force in the winning run), only to blow a 6-4 lead the next day to lose 8-6?

You cannot blame Willie for all the players being cold. Omar Minaya gives him a 25 man roster, and he picks the "best" of those 25 to put out on the field. What I can blame on Willie - I've disagreed with his pitching/bullpen moves countless times. That IS something he has control on, and I disagree heavily with the way he uses his bullpen, which is the reason for many of their losses this season.

I didn't really care if they let him go at this point. I don't know what goes on in the clubhouse or on the bench, all I know is what I see on TV - but that being said, he's too quiet. In the sense that he
needs a little more fire on the bench, and energy from game-to-game. The Mets need a manager that shows emotion (ehem, Bobby Valentine, ehem) and fights for ballclub, not during the post-game conferences, but on the field in the umpires faces. They need a guy who will fire up the team, get them going, and stick up for their players on the field.

So hearing that he didn't "have this team" or that "these guys don't really play for him" I don't know how much stock I put in to that. I think they respect him, and they want to succeed, and they want their success to be a reflection of him. But I also think that they needed a little more umph from their manager, and that was something they didn't get from him.

Sorry Willie, but you'll do just fine with your $millions and a definite future coaching job; I don't feel too bad for him except that some people put the blame of the season thus far and the 2007 collapse almost solely on his shoulders, which is unjust. But yes, they needed to shake up the team. And while I never bought in to the theory of "when the team sucks, it's the manager's fault, and that's why you
fire him," this was a necessary move for other reasons (I just didn't think it was going to be this early).

Like I said, I don't have a problem with THIS move. However, they also fired pitching coach Rick Peterson (and first base coach Tom Nieto, but that doesn't matter at all. I think they can find first base with out him. In fact, they've been able to do that all season, they just can't get beyond first base, that's their issue).

Rick "the Pitching Guru" Peterson. The Mets were among the league leaders in total team ERA ever since Rick Peterson came to town. By far and away, the only good thing to come out of the "Art Howe" era was that it brought Rick Peterson to Shea and he wanted to stay. The Mets got rid of Art Howe because A) the team sucked, B) to cover up the fact that they threw money to ex-All-Stars that no longer deserved it (see Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz, Tom Glavine), but mostly they wanted a manage that wouldn't just sit there on the bench with the same expression whether they were up 7-0 in the third inning or down 7-0 in the third. And with Willie, though I loved him in the beginning, he was the same way.

He came over saying "I'm a Joe Torre guy, and I'm going to coach like him" a.k.a. sit on the bench with his arms folded, showing as little emotion as possible, making as few moves as possible. My personal beliefs is that the Yankees success had a lot less to do with Torre than fans and the press made it out to be. They had some great teams, and hot seasons from over-achievers (ehem, steroids much?).

But back to Peterson. I honestly thought that when Willie was given his pink slip, that there was no way they would get rid of Rick Peterson. I am blown away. I think this was a very unintelligent move. Only time will tell, and if they go on without him to have one of the best pitching staffs at the end of
the season, then great. But I cannot imagine that the team without Rick Peterson is better than the team with Rick Peterson. This guy helped a lot of Met pitchers. "He's regarded as one of the best pitching coaches in baseball," the TV just said, as I type this.

It's not his fault that El Duque is 45 years old and hasn't pitched yet this season. Pedro's freak injury woes is not his fault. Oliver Perez being Oliver Perez is not his fault. Rick Peterson is a great asset for any baseball team, and the Mets just let him go. I can't fathom that their bullpen will all of a sudden click and do their job now that Peterson isn't there anymore. I would love nothing more than to be
wrong, and for everything to click with this team.

The bottom line is, as bad as they've been, they're not far away from anything. All they need are two hot months during the summer, win series against their division rivals and they will make the playoffs. No team in the NL has been the best team for the whole season so far. The D-Backs were the top, then they got cold (real cold). The Cubs started off so-so, now they have the best record. For a little too long, the Florida "our entire team payroll is less than A-Rod's" Marlins held the best record in all of baseball.

It's not just the NL. Even in the AL, no team has consistently been the best. The Tampa Bay [no-longer Devil] Rays held the best record for most of the first two months. In the NL, and especially in the NL East, nothing is sealed. The division is most definitely still up for grabs.

So even though the currently 34-35 Mets are 6.5 games back, they can definitely still be a good team this season and make the playoffs.

They're just going to have to do it without Rick Peterson.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Unentertaining Cedric The Entertainer

What’s the deal with Cedric: The Entertainer?

Seriously, what’s his deal?

First of all, what kind of name is that? First name Cedric, that’s perfectly fine. Middle name The? Last name Entertainer? So when he goes to the doctor or files his taxes, is his file under Entertainer, Cedric The? Entertainer, Cedric T.?

Seriously, did he legally change his name to that? Or is it in the way Bob Dylan’s real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman? I would draw a comparison to Larry The Cable Guy, but I don’t have enough respect for him to even mention his name… Oops.

I suppose that alone, on the surface, really bugs me about him. He was born Cedric Antonio Kyles, and I suppose having a somewhat generic human name wasn’t good enough for him. He needed to stand out, and as an aspiring comedian that certainly makes sense.

He really needs a “The”? Ceddy, the Entertainer. Psh.

Well, I suppose it really doesn’t matter as long as his work speaks for itself. Let’s take a look at how some of the movies he headlined fared at the box-office.

Codename: The Cleaner (2007): $8 Million

The Honeymooners (2005): $12 Million

Johnson Family Vacation (2004): $31 Million

Kingdom Come (2001): $23 Million

Cedric: The Entertainer in Codename: The Cleaner, $8 Million. A movie that cost $20 Million to make only pulled in $8 at the box office. So, apparently he’s not at the iconic status in the eyes of America to successfully pull off a “The” name. Yet, he does it anyway.

What really bugs me about him is that I just plain don’t find him funny. Yet, I feel like he’s everywhere. It’s as if he and Monique signed contracts with the Devil to be everywhere. Why couldn’t they sell their souls to the devil to have some comedic talent? Wouldn’t that have worked out better for them?

I really just don’t see why he’s funny. Is it because I’m white? I really don’t think so. I like a lot of comedians. I just don’t understand how people can find him funny.

His shtick is to say unintelligent things, and make fun of other black people. I mean, youtube him and make a choice for yourself… I just don’t get it.

To me, his greatest achievement was his sidekick role on The Steve Harvey Show (1996-2002). I think he should’ve stopped there.

But, being that his last headline project was 2007 we’re probably due for another amazing Cedric The Entertainer bust due out 2009.

Look out for the 2009 flop Chicago Pulaski Jones with Kel (You know, from Keenan and Kel? You might’ve heard those odd rumors that he was dead, but – no, not dead. Just resurrected by Cedric THEE Entertainer). Chicago Jones? Really? So, expect the blaxploitation knockoff of Indiana Jones to hit theaters (you know, like 12 of them) some time next year.

He continues to put out movies, and declare himself as one of the kings of comedy of our time. And I suppose to the people who find him funny – you know, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, Nick Cannon, Katt Williams and President Bush - they will agree with that.

But as for the other 300 Million Americans… Cedric, stop.

Follow in the footsteps of Pauly Shore. After a few tries (In The Army Now, Jury Duty, Bio-Dome), accept that you don’t have comedic talent and fade into the background.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's Wrong With Music Today?


Part II coming soon...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Three Years Ago Today, I Almost Died (In A Few)

It's that time of year again. School's out, the weather's nice, and spirits are lifted as the temperature rises.

Oh, and it's the anniversary of my brain surgery.

Three years ago today, June 6, 2005, I underwent brain surgery. It was by far the scariest thing I've ever had to deal with. I thought my life was quite literally over. And in honor of that day, I choose to do something that I've been meaning to do ever since; put it all down in writing. Of what I can remember at this point, that is.

For years, ever since I can remember, I used to get these odd head pains. It would come so randomly and without warning. I'd just turn my head slightly and it felt like an electric shock was hitting me all throughout my head. It was a really intense pain, and I wouldn't be able to move for a few seconds. Then after about 10 seconds the pain would fizzle and my head would feel numb.

This had been going on for years, ever since I can remember, but it would only happen two, maybe three times a year, so I never really thought much about it. As I got older, I started to wonder about it a bit more. I don't remember if they were necessarily becoming more frequent, but it was on my mind more, thinking that I ought to get it checked out.

So, towards the end of my senior year of high school in March 2005, I was in gym class. We were playing badminton and my partner and I (not as in the homosexual, significant other, life-partner sense, but you know, badminton partner in doubles) were both about to swat a birdie. It just hit me, and immediately brought me to my knees. I fell over on to the floor grabbing my head, wondering when it was gonna go away, because it seemed like it was getting more intense. My partner was freaking out because he thought he slammed me in the back of the head.

"No, no, don't worry - it's just uh, this thing."

Yeah, that seems normal, right? I decided it was time to get it checked out; to make sure nothing serious was going on. So of course by the time I actually had an appointment with my doctor, it was now late April/early May. He said he thought it was just a pinched nerve, but being it's not his expertise he sent me to a neurologist.

It was mid-late May by the time I saw Dr. Grossman, my neurologist. He saw me, checked me out and thought the same thing - probably just a pinched nerve. But he had me go back in a few days for some tests. Let me say, it's a lot of fun having wires from a computer attached to your head. Not the least bit scary at all. (If you really couldn't tell, for whatever reason - yes, that was sarcasm).

But none of those tests showed anything wrong. Why push on? He schedules me for an MRI.

Monday, May 31st, 2005 - I went in for an MRI. And believe it or not, I wasn't really freaking out about the seriousness of all of this. I was just thinking, Jeez, an MRI? Is that really necessary? Seems kinda heavy duty. Now, I'm not really one to be claustrophobic, but being slid into a little cylinder-shaped container not much bigger than me isn't so fun. My nose was practically touching the ceiling. An hour of loud bangs, clicks and buzzes all around my head was a little nerve-racking.

Finally, it was over. I made plans for afterward and went about my day. Stephanie, let me just say I'm sorry that this was the last time I saw you for a few years. I didn't exactly plan all of that - but the next month my head wasn't in the best place, then I was gone for the rest of the summer, then it was off to college. I'm sorry.

So I went about the rest of the week as normal, thinking nothing of it.

Friday, June 3rd, 2005 - While the rest of my esteemed soon-to-be graduating class was getting ready for the prom that night, I wasn't going. For whatever reasons, I'm not getting into that now - but in the end, it's good I wasn't planning on going because in the end, I was going to be elsewhere that night.

I was heading out the door with my mom and grandma on our way to my cousin's house for dinner, when the phone rang. I picked it up; it was my neurologist asking to speak with my mother. I'll never be able to figure out how she was able to stay so calm, but she hung up and told me we had to go to his office.

I'm not sure why, but even then I didn't think it was going to be anything serious. In reality, when a neurologist calls you and tells you to come in to his office immediately, you can kind of figure it's pretty serious, but I don't know. Probably because my mom was so calm, I didn't think anything of it.

My grandma waited in the car and we went in to the office. We were called in to his office right away, and sitting there waiting for him I began to become a little wary.

He came in and cut right to it. I'll never be able to forget his words...

"Mark... there's something on your brain, I don't know what it is, but it has to be removed immediately."

My heart sunk. I couldn't breathe. All the blood from my head drained in an instant.
Naturally my mom couldn't hold it in anymore. All I could think was, I am going to die. I am going to die at a very, very young age. Or what if I don't die? Oh my God, I'm going to be brain dead. I can't believe this is happening to me. Why me, God?!

I sat there crying, just bawling. I couldn't help myself. I felt numb. I felt as if I were already going to die. My life was over. Here I am, not yet 18, and I am going to die? How fucking unfair is it that I should have to deal with this? Haven't I been crapped on enough all my life? Really, this is how it's going to end? I'm never going to have children. My parents are going to have to bury me.

I couldn't believe this was happening to me. He told us to go to the hospital right away; he let them know before that we were gonna be coming in. Head to the ER.

We leave the office and get in the car, where my grandma's been sitting there waiting. My mom tells her that we have to go to the hospital; she wanted to scare her as little as possible. My dad, who was going to meet us at my cousin's house, met us at the hospital when we got there.

I'll never forget the car ride there. Not that anything specific happened, but I can remember exactly how I felt. Exactly. Sitting in the car on the way there, being driven by my mom, sitting next to my grandma, I just felt so utterly and completely helpless. I already felt like a vegetable,to put it poetically. I felt like my fate was sealed and it wasn't going to allow me to live a long, normal, healthy life.

At the hospital, dad took grandma home while mom stayed with me. After my dad got back my name was finally called. I was brought in to a small room. Some young doctor took my blood and asked me what was going on, describe the sensations I was feeling in my head. This was a recurring theme that night. I must have seen 6 or 7 different people, all of whom needed me to tell them everything from the beginning.

When you're in a situation like that, you really don't feel like telling your story multiple times. Why couldn't they just communicate with each other, or have 5 doctors in the room at the same time? Anyway, they finally took me to my room. I was going to stay overnight.

I wasn't yet 18 when this happened, so they put me in the children's ward. I must say this was the greatest thing that could've happened to me during the whole ordeal. The way they treated me there just made me feel so much more comfortable.

Late that night while I was lying in bed, two surgeons walked in my room, Dr. Schneider and Dr. Mitler. They told me they were going to be the ones operating on me. They looked at my MRI films, and they think they know what it is. I had a small growth wedged between my brain and my brain stem. They said they didn't think it was cancerous, it seemed benign. It was like a grape, fairly small and curiously enough, perfectly round. Because it was so round, they said it should be fairly easy to remove.

So the growth was not malignant, and it was not that huge. But what made it so serious (besides the fact that, you know, I had a growth on my brain) was it's location. Like I said, it was wedged in between my brain and the brain stem. But they said they felt confident ad they were gonna take care of me, and they'd see me in surgery on Monday.

It must have been 1 or 2 AM when this happened, and my mom started crying again, this time the tears were closer to joy [relief]. She slept on the chair next to my bed the whole time I was in the hospital. I don't know how, but eventually, somehow we got to sleep that night.

Saturday and Sunday were both extremely long, fairly uneventful days. I went in for another MRI on Sunday, but other than that it was just lying in bed watching in TV for hours. My dad was there all day, every day, too. My brother was in Europe. My parents didn't want to call him and tell him what was going on until after the surgery, which made enough sense. Why worry him when he's on the other side of the world?

I got a lot of phone calls from family and friends, teachers, my boss at my luxurious Marshall's job, Stanley-the owner of Camp Monroe. And some visits too, family and friends. That was nice. It helped pass the time and it was really great seeing all these people that on Friday I wondered how many more times I'd be able to see them.

So Sunday night, I'm lying in bed, trying to fall asleep. Yet, believe it or not, it was a little hard thinking that when I woke up I was undergoing brain surgery. So of course, the bed next to me in the room that was vacated ever since Saturday morning was filled. A family was involved in a car accident, and they were keeping one of the kids over night but of course they all stayed there. Of course, they were extremely noisy throughout the entire night. I felt bad about complaining, but it wasn't that dire of an accident and it was like 2 in the morning and all I wanted to do was go to sleep so I can wake up and have surgery.

Monday, June 6th, 2005 - Surgery was supposed to be at 11. I was nervously watching the clock wanting the time to come already, but of course it got pushed back. A couple of hours passed and then around 2 or 3, someone came in to wheel me down to prep me for surgery. Wha- Now?! I'm not ready, I need time to, you know, mentally prepare.

So I was wheeled down in this waiting room/line. They wheeled me in and you know, the anesthesiologist is cracking jokes, trying to help me not worry so much. I was actually okay that day. I was ready. They gave me the anesthesia, and told me to count backwards from 100. I'm thinking Ugh, great. There's no way I'm gonna pass out, I'm too nervous... 100.... 99... 98...97...

97 was the last number I remember.

I woke up in some pretty intense pain. I couldn't move my neck at all. They wheeled me back to my room and I couldn't have been happier to see my parents faces. They had me on a morphine drip, and I was able to control it by pressing a little button another dosage of morphine would hit me. It was so good. So good, in fact, they took the power away from me the next day. They said it was to be expected, but I was taking a bit too much morphine than I should, and well, I was in more pain for the rest of my stay.

Dr. Schneider and Dr. Mitler came in and I thanked them. I stayed in the hospital until Wednesday. I was in this foam neck cast, and the ride home was killer. When I got home, no position was comfortable. Everything was painful. I stayed at home until the very last day of school. My mom had the glorious job of removing the bandages from the back of my head. You can imagine how cute she thought it was when she saw 13 bloody staples when she took it off.

I went back to school for the last day. The last day of senior year, my last day of high school. I was walking around with my yearbook, this stiff board, unable to rotate my neck at all, so I'd have to turn my whole body when I moved. It was eerie. Most of these people knew why they hadn't seen me in two weeks, and the conversations were... interesting. So that was the glorious memory of my last day in high school.

I went back to see my neurologist, who told me that although the growth was benign, because of the location of it it was very dangerous. Had they not caught it, I could have potentially only had a few years left. Had I not gotten it checked it out, I could've died shortly after college. Well, I'm entering my senior year now, and that still stays with me.

I had the surgery, the growth was removed. Had that not happened, I could've mysteriously dropped dead in a few years. I still wonder a lot that that might still happen. I've had follow-up MRIs every year, and nothing appears to be regrowing; but I still think about that.

The truth is, you never know how much time you have. Everyone assumes that they're going to live a full life and get to see their grandkids grow up. People always think that if there's some danger around the corner, there'll be signs or they'll be able to deal with it. Not to sound too much of a downer, but the truth of it all is you never know what's gonna happen. You just never know.

I owe my life to Dr. Schneider and Dr. Mitler. Without them, I might not be here. Or maybe in a few years. Thank you, Dr. Schneider. Thank you Dr. Mitler. I owe everything I have to them.

I had been meaning to do this for some time; write down the whole experience. I feel like this was not as emotionally driven, or fact-filled as it could've been if I'd done this right after it happened. But I liked this, it was good for me to do this. I was looking forward to writing this today, and I'm glad I did.

Like I said, today was third year anniversary of my brain surgery. Not a day goes by that I don't think about it.